Due to the Arab-Israeli conflict in Palestine, Hamas with its military wing al-Qassam brigades has developed their own tools of war in order to preserve self-sufficiency in order to not be affected by the blockade made on Gaza strip.
This article will spotlight on one of the more interesting craft produced rocket launchers in Gaza , which is literally underground since their production facilities are protected in underground bunkers from IDF air raids and artillery strikes.
It is designed and manufactured by Hamas, but they distribute the launchers to other resistance troops working in Gaza, including Fatah and the PFLP (Popular Front for Liberating Palestine).
The weapon is named after Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and the spiritual leader of Hamas who was assassinated by Hellfire missiles shot from an Israeli AH-64 Apache Helicopter gunship on March 22, 2004, at the age of 67.
The Yassin RPG is a unique design that resembles the RPG-2 combined with RPG-7 with some improvised design features, From RPG-2 it took the launching tube design and the warhead external shape and the rocket motor which are very simple, but to improve the performance they added some features from the RPG-7 such as the nozzle at the launcher’s rear to deflect recoil generated by launching the rocket, they also added a rocket booster to be attached to the propelled grenade to extend it’s range, and the internal shaped charge of the warhead is enhanced as well.
The manufacturing process occurs in underground workshops using ordinary shop tools, but the conception and engineering of the weapon seem to have a high degree of sophistication and professionalism given the lack of technology of the design.
According to the continuous improvements of armor in Israeli armored vehicles, the RPG is believed to be not effective against them. However, Saladin brigades (the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committee in Gaza) claimed to destroy a Merkava Mk.3 MBT by targeting a weak point of the tank. Yet, the weapon is very effective against brick fortifications and soft-skinned armor as it can penetrate a 21 cm steel plate from 150 meters.
Model : Yassin RPG
Designer : Adnan al-Ghoul
Type : Anti-Tank, Anti-Personnel
Place of Origin : Gaza, Palestine
Manufacturer: al-Qassam brigades, R&D unit
In Service: 2004 – Current
Weight : 7 kg (15 lbs)
Length : 95 cm (37″)
Caliber: 40 mm rocket engine ; 85 mm warhead
Muzzle velocity: 295 m/s
Effective range: 300 m
Sights: Iron sights